“For, before the harvest,
when the blossom is gone and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he
will cut off the shoots with pruning knives, and cut down and take away
the spreading branches.” (Isa 18:5)
I don't know about you, but pruning knives, being cut down, having spreading branches cut away . . . This verse certainly does NOT express MY idea of a fine time! And it certainly doesn't describe what a loving God would do! But before we get too upset, let's take a look at the verse just before this one: “This is what the LORD says to me: 'I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.'” (Isa 18:4)
Notice that God isn't the one doing the pruning. He is simply allowing it to happen. The pruning is being done by someone called “he”. And who is “he”? Would it be too much to suggest that this might be the “he” that brought on all of Job's calamities??? How many times do you hear it something like this: “God is punishing me”. Yet the Bible is clear: God isn't the one who punishes. He sometimes, in His wisdom, allows us to be punished by the enemy, but He is not the one who does the punishing! And how many times have you heard people say that they felt like God is abandoning them? Yet this text is clear: God is watching from His dwelling place! We may be undergoing a pruning process, but God is constantly paying attention to what is happening!
But this leads to the next question: Why is God going to allow this major “pruning” to happen. The answer is found in Isaiah 18:7: “At that time gifts will be brought to the LORD Almighty”.
God was allowing “pruning” by the enemy in order that in the end, the people might honor God! God doesn't allow bad things to happen for no reason! He uses bad times to bring people to Him!
Let's remember this passage the next time we feel the snip of the “pruning shears” tugging at our families, our friends, our sources of income, or even on ourselves. God's promises are true. He really WILL work all things “for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)
Lord, I give you full reign of my life. Wherever you see the need, send in the pruning shears! Cut away the branches! Stamp out any part of me that will keep me from being who you desire me to be! I trust you, for you have said that during these times you will not abandon me. Rather you will
remain quiet and look on from your dwelling place, so that in the end, I too, will bear good fruit for You!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Moderator, The Nugget, Scriptural Nuggets ( www.scripturalnuggets.org ), Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org